Jamoeblog Top Ten: 09:03:08
1) DJ Muggs & Planet Asia "Sleeper Cell" (Gold Dust Media)
2) Paris "Blap That Ass Up" + "The Trap" (Guerrilla Funk)
3) dan le sac Vs. Scroobius pip "Development" (Strange Famous)
4) Large Pro "Rockin Hip-Hop" (Gold Dust Media)
5) Tricky "Council Estate" (Domino Recording Company)
6) J-Live "Ooweee" (bbe)
7) Nightmares On Wax "195 lbs" (Warp Records)
8) Quest Quartz Qrew "Do Gooder" (Reverse Techniques)
9) Jean Grae "My Story" (Blacksmith)
10) Brooklyn Academy "This is Brooklyn" (feat Ill Bill) (K7)
DJ Muggs & Planet Asia have a very strong new collaborative album in Pain Language. It brings out the very best in both artists on tracks such as "Sleeper Cell," "Black Mask Men," "Smoke," "9mm" (video below), and "Death Frees Every Soul" featuring Sick Jacken. Wu-Tang members Killah Priest and GZA are among the album's many guests. Also making cameos on Pain Language (available at Amoeba in two weeks) are B-Real, Cynic, Scratch, Prodigal Sunn, Tri State, Chance Infinite, and Turban. What I love most about the Soul Assassins' DJ Muggs' top notch production is his ability to effortlessly create a dark, ominous mood -- the perfect backdrop to Fresno emcee Planet Asia -- that is enhanced with subtly interwoven soundbite samples.
Same for Paris' self-produced latest album Acid Reflex (available Amoeba on Tuesday, Sept 9th) on tracks like "Blap That Ass Up," which is constructed nearly entirely out of engaging TV news soundbites about the US being a racist police state. "Blap..." flows perfectly into the track that follows it, "The Trap," which, with Paris' observant yet depressingly real rhymes, also tackles the topic of the US being a police state with little love for minorities both here and in Iraq ("babies killing babies in America's name...that's pimpin for real...it's the trap"). With his ever-critical look at the US foreign policy and the current administration's lack of care for its own poor citizens, all I can say is thank God for the few high profile hip-hop artists like Paris who have never lost sight of their power to inform through their music.
This week's chart also includes two UK artists, dan le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip and Tricky, both of whom have new albums out or about to drop, and upcoming US tours with dates in SF and LA. Tricky, whose new album Knowle West Boy is available at all three Amoeba Music stores, plays House Of Blues in Anaheim on Thursday next week (9/11) and The Independent in San Francisco on Sunday (9/14). He is scheduled to appear on The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS tonight (9/3) to perform a track from the new album. Knowle West Boy takes its name from the Knowle West council estate projects in Bristol, UK, where Tricky hails from.
"Knowle West is where I was born. It's a white ghetto. I didnt know what racism was until I left. My family's mixed race, so we don't see color. I grew up on a council estate more as a white kid, but with Jamaican roots. But all of us there had something in common...we were poor. I realized that I'd never written anything for these kind of people," said the artist, who arrived on the music world as the main ambassador of trip-hop with his acclaimed 1995 debut Maxinquaye. The full interview is below, and Tricky discusses the new album, which boasts such tracks as "Puppy Toy," "Joseph," and the Two-Tone/Specials flavored "Council Estate." Through the interview below you can also learn more about his personal family history and the real meaning behind the new album, which he describes in this interview as being "like a mixtape."
Look for an interview with UK duo dan le sac Vs Scroobius pip in an upcoming Amoeblog and check for their Cali shows in four weeks (Echo in LA on the 30th & Cafe Du Nord in SF October 1st). Other entries on the Top Ten chart include J-Live from his killer current album Then What Happened?, Brooklyn Academy (off their new album Bored of Education, out this week), Jean Grae, and Large Pro (aka Extra P, aka Large Professor) from his new album, Main Source, deliberately titled after the legendary early nineties New York hip-hop group that he is a founding member of. For this new release the producer, DJ (yes, he still spins), and emcee enlists many collaborators, including such other noteworthy hip-hop figures as as Jeru the Damaja, Lil' Dap, AZ, and Styles P.
Nightmares on Wax, aka Leeds born/Ibiza-based DJ/musician/producer George Evelyn, aka E.A.S.E., has just dropped a new album on Warp Records titled Thought So..., which has some nice tracks on it such as "195 lbs" and "Be There," but overall I find it to be a little less exciting (and hip-hop based) than N.O.W.'s previous work, including his last album two years ago, In A Space Outta Time. DJ Quest's latest, the group project Quest Quartz Qrew, on which he is joined by DJ Oaty Love and beatmaker Dawgisht, was recorded live on KZSU radio earlier this year around the same time the longtime SF DJ and his musical crew did an Amoeba Music instore. Hence, the record features several of the same compositions performed live at Amoeba. The limited edition CD boasts 17 tracks such as "Do Gooder," and is only available at a handful of outlets, including the two Bay Area Amoeba Music stores.